The Pelicans are signing free agent guard Jared Harper and big man James Banks III to training camp deals, agent Kshaun Daley of Verus Basketball tells our JD Shaw (Twitter link).
Harper, who is celebrating his 24th birthday today, was on a two-way contract with the Suns during his rookie season in 2019/20, then spent most of the ’20/21 campaign on a two-way deal with the Knicks. The former Auburn standout saw limited NBA action in those two seasons, logging just 24 total minutes in 11 games, but he played regularly at the G League level.
In 46 total games for the Westchester Knicks and Northern Arizona Suns from 2019-21, Harper averaged 20.5 PPG and 5.9 APG on .429/.370/.802 shooting in 30.0 minutes per contest.
Banks, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2020 after making the ACC All-Defensive Team in both his junior and senior seasons. The 6’10” center spent his first professional season in Israel with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, then suited up for the Cavaliers at the Las Vegas Summer League last month.
The Pelicans currently have 18 players under contract, including 15 on guaranteed deals, one on a non-guaranteed contract (Wenyen Gabriel), and two on two-way deals (Jose Alvarado and Daulton Hommes). Signing Harper and Banks will bring New Orleans to the 20-man preseason limit, though the team has also reportedly reached a deal with Malcolm Hill, so more moves are likely on the way before opening night.
Both Harper and Banks will be on Exhibit 10 deals, which will make them candidates to join the Birmingham Squadron – New Orleans’ G League team – if they don’t earn spots on the Pelicans’ 17-man regular season squad. In that scenario, they’d be eligible for bonuses worth up to $50K in addition to their NBAGL salaries.